WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Avengers #28, from Jason Aaron, Stefano Caselli, Jason Keith and VCs' Cory Petit, on sale now.
Robbie Reyes' tenure as the new Ghost Rider hasn't been easy. He's endured one of the bumpiest roads of any Ghost Rider since he was bonded to Marvel's Spirit of Vengeance. While he's proven himself to be quite a powerful hero and even joined the Avengers, Robbie has slowly found himself immeasurably tormented by the demon within.
While Avengers #28 finds Robbie prepping for that much-hyped race with Johnny Blaze, the king of Hell, he has a lot more to worry about, as it seems the supernatural entity within wants to kill Robbie's family. What's even worse is that Robbie's apparently locked into this partnership he didn't even sign and it doesn't seem there's any way out.
As Robbie guns it through Los Angeles to get his younger brother, Gabe, to school, his car, the Hell Charger, starts to rebel in the scariest way possible. It keeps accelerating and takes control out of Robbie's hands, reminding him the engine runs on blood and right now, lives are needed to charge it up, starting with Gabe. The youngster is unwillingly offered up as a sacrifice, with the Hell Charger pinning both Reyes bothers down with chains as if they were seat belts so they can't escape.
Luckily, Robbie reestablishes control, but as he tells the Avengers once he drops Gabe off, he needs a way out of the relationship he has which is now becoming parasitic. Not even his instinct to save lives can curb or curtail the car anymore, and it's only a matter of time before it compromises him as the Rider, like it did during the Avengers' recent war against vampires. Robbie doesn't chalk the car's insubordination down to an odd mistake; it's becoming dominant, detrimental part of his life.
While running tests on the Hell Charger, Black Panther tries to get Robbie to max our its power so he can trace the origin of its mystical energy source. As expected, there's no success and Robbie laments how he can't get rid of it, adding that it's laughing at him in his head too. He also point out how when he was shot by drug dealers and the car initially possessed him, he did hear his uncle Eli. Eli also spent time in Robbie's mind, possessing him, so the team thinks that Eli might have made a deal with dark forces that's been passed down to Robbie. A blood pact could involve both Robbie and Gabe as collateral, and Eli could even possess the Hell Charger itself.
With Danny Ketch, Marvel's other Ghost Rider, not answering his phone, they call on Daimon Hellstrom to preform an exorcism, something Panther alluded to in this year's Avengers Free Comic Book Day special. They all realize that the car's regenerating from its wounds like a living being. With power levels off the charts, they think that separating Robbie from it could be a solution, and that Daimon might be able to purge the vehicle of whatever's inhabiting it.
But the Hell Charger doesn't want to let the young man go, chaining itself to him. As the exorcism continues, Robbie ends up being quickly transported to hell where Johnny's waiting to race, with the Spirit of Vengeance as a potential price.. Robbie has been dreaming about this moment for some time, and it looks like Robbie and the other Ghost Riders are about to reach the starting line for "The Challenge of the Ghost Riders." It remains to be seen if Johnny can win the Spirit from Robbie, and what might happen to Robbie if that does happen. However, as it stands, the Ghost Rider's devilish deal could be too good to be true for Robbie and his brother.